08 November 2018

A “new era” for men and women in the Latin American Church

Our secretary, Father Awi Mello, attended the Continental Congress of Laymen and Laywomen in Brazil

The letter on the participation of the laity in public life that Pope Francis sent on 19th March to Cardinal Francesco Marc Oellet,  President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America,  provoked an immediate reaction among the laity on the Continent.  With the chief objective of elaborating on its contents and promoting a “new era” for  the laity in the Latin American  Church,  over the past two years the Episcopal Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM)  organized various regional congresses with a view to the approaching Continental Congress of Laymen and Laywomen,  that was held on 4th November in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

The Congress, in which Father Alexandre Awi Mello, the Secretary of our Dicastery took part,  was attended by the majority of the Episcopal Conferences on the Continent, represented by the Coordinators of the Departments for the Laity and the Directors of the National Councils for the Laity, where these exist.  In addition to sharing news on the realities in each country and the initiatives in which lay people are protagonists, the Congress  presented an analysis of the Latin American situation  by   Moema Miranda, a professor from Brazil, along with a lecture on the laity in the ecclesiology of Vatican II  –  the latter a contribution by Monsignor  Francisco  Niño, Deputy Secretary General of CELAM,  from Colombia – ,  in the General Conferences (Prof. Cesar Kuzma, Brazil) and in the Pontificate of Pope Francis ( Emilce Cuda, a Professor from Argentina), concluding with concrete proposals aimed at continuing to cultivate the spirit of dialogue, communion and mission among the Latin American laity.

In regard to the event, Father Alexandre Awi Mello  stated that “ in addition to being an occasion  to get to know the ecclesial organization of the Latin American laity, it has enriched all the participants with an exchange of experiences, initiatives and best practices related to the laity, who desire to be a “Church which goes forth” at the service of the most needy, above all in public life.   I have also had the opportunity – added the Secretary – to present the Dicastery’s work on the promotion and formation of the laity by making it available to the organizations  present”.